For weeks, it seemed that the best move for the Washington Nationals at the trade deadline would be no move at all. However, Ryan Zimmerman‘s grade 3 hamstring strain caused the Nationals to need another infielder.
After taking part in discussions with multiple clubs, including the New York Mets about a potential Daniel Murphy trade, Washington agreed to send Zach Walters to the Cleveland Indians for shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera appears to be a two month rental player for the Nats, as this is the final year of his contract, all of which will be paid by the Indians.
Washington hopes Cabrera can return to his all-star level performances of 2011 and 2012, but even his current .246/.305/.386 would be an improvement over the Nationals’ current production at second base. Espinosa, who has gotten the majority of the reps while Zimmerman has been absent, has only posted a batting average of .219.
Because Ian Desmond is Washington’s everyday shortstop, Cabrera switch to second base, somewhere he has not played since 2009. In 2009 Cabrera played 162 games at second base, while only making five errors. The versatility of Cabrera will also allow the Nationals to give Desmond a few days off while getting Espinosa some at bats and innings at second base.
The Nationals have built themselves by never sacrificing the future for the present. General manager Mike Rizzo has never been willing to make a trade that he believed would sacrifice the future of the organization, and that was showed again at this year’s trade deadline.
Walters, a shortstop by trade, was in little position to get regular at bats with the Nationals in the present or future. With Ian Desmond locked down through at least 2015, trading Walters was in the best interest of the player and organization. Washington hopes that with the help of Cabrera, the Nationals can not only win the NL East but make a deep run into the postseason.